May 26, 2012

Making dreams come true...

His friends never understood his obsession. Most people who knew him still found it strange that he would continue to penny-pinch so much even after getting a nice job. They'll never understand.

It was almost 20 years ago. When the boy was sounded out by the Chettiar Paati for climbing the wall and dirtying the newly white-washed surface. He went crying back to his mom, who had no words to console him. His young mind developed a secret desire, though he had no means to get it.

It was reaffirmed for 10 years when there was no one to question him hitting a wet tennis ball again and again, leaving tell-tale signs of dirty splotches against the wall (freshly white-washed or otherwise). And the feeling was so good that it only strengthened the desire that this should go on. But things were not meant to be. Things are never meant to be. A lesson he learnt pretty early in life.

The desire grew deeper when he spent a year in a 8' x 12' room that was a class-room by day. When sleeping late on a weekend was not an option because he needed to wash and clean up and leave the place before the class started at 9 am. And when the bedbugs in that flea-infested mattress started bothering him, he would just join up 2 desks and plonk himself on it. Only to be wake up early the next day because the class would start.

Things improved when he moved to a larger place, but space was still a luxury with two other friends for company. Noisy neighbours were his only grouse, as he set about juggling two exams and 3 teaching assignments.

Fate (or Murphy?) put him in a b-school where even the hostels were cramped spaces. Where the number of people to the number of bathrooms ratio was almost 12 to 1. And since the one thing that irritated him was people knocking on the door while he was on the pot, he decided to sacrifice 15 minutes of sleep for a peaceful sit-down.

He spent another 5 years, moving from place to place, surviving landlords, haggling brokers, hostile neighbours who didn't want bachelor boys staying nearby, all the while nurturing this dream.

And finally, after a year of searching, and almost giving because the scourge of black money plagues this country's real estate, and constant cribbing on this very blog about it, he finally realized the dream. A house of his own. A small one, a costly one, but still something to call his own. Unfortunately, he is too old to climb walls or hit tennis balls against them.

And as he sat worrying that his tenants might dirty the freshly painted walls, he realized that the ghost of the Chettiar Paati was coming back to haunt him.

Life sure has a funny way of making you grow up into the very person you hate.